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Remarks of Mayor Nancy Rotering at the August 15, 2022 City Council Meeting

Mayor Rotering delivered the following remarks at the August 15, 2022 City Council meeting: 

There is no timeline for how long grief lasts, nor a guideline for how one should feel after a traumatic experience, but as we lean on each other and seek guidance and reassurance from community leaders, we are finding the strength to move forward as individuals and as a community.

During the last few weeks, I have met with officials at every level of government, representatives from our sister governments, Highland Park Hospital, area clergy, survivors, and neighbors. If the violence we experienced in July has left you feeling frightened, upset, or angry - you are not alone.

Thank you to all who participated in meetings, talked with me impromptu at Food Truck Thursdays, at National Night Out, at the Highland Park Chamber of Commerce Sidewalk Sale, while walking around town, or reached out another way. Every voice is important as we remember those who were murdered, pray for those who are recovering and do our best to move forward.

Public Safety is a core priority of the City of Highland Park. The City’s Fire, Police, Public Works, and Community Development Departments are known for the highest level of standards and exceptional service. The City’s public safety team, professional staff, and elected officials are proud to work closely with Lake County, North Shore School District 112, Township High School District 113, the Park District of Highland Park, the Highland Park Public Library, Moraine Township, West Deerfield Township, and North Shore Water Reclamation District. Professional staff and elected leaders from each government have met to continue conversations about safety practices and resources, many of which have already been put into place or are being considered.

Our clergy have a unique calling to help others cope during times of loss, conflict, and tragedy. Faith leaders have been briefed on the plethora of resources, services, and public safety assistance available to their congregants and respective houses of worship. This is a compassionate and competent group. They collectively encouraged all of us to lean on them as they are willing and ready to help us recognize and accept our emotions, and they can guide us towards the tangible, practical things that we can do to ease the path ahead.

We continue to be in contact with local, county, state and federal victims support specialists. Their expertise and guidance continue to provide us with clarity as we work to serve our community in the aftermath of this tragedy.

Our businesses play a significant role in supporting and sustaining the fabric of our community. Many owners and employees have faced enormous challenges related to the Fourth of July tragedy and we stand with them as they continue to add vibrancy to our community. Thank you to the many business owners for meeting and for your dedication to our community. Programs are available to help the businesses directly impacted by the shooting.

I promised you that we would not stop trying to save lives. We have many more steps to take together. I was invited to speak with the Lake County Board about what happened in Highland Park on the Fourth of July and how we must work together to stop gun violence in our state and in our country. I am pleased to report that last week, they officially passed a resolution supporting both state and federal laws that ban assault weapons and large capacity magazines. Their action sends a message that by working together, we can save human lives and keep other cities from enduring the pain and heartache we feel in Highland Park.

Illinois State Representative Bob Morgan and I have been speaking regularly.  I look forward to working with him as he chairs the Firearm Safety and Reform Working Group. The group will work to create and pass common sense legislation to reduce the gun violence and trauma faced by so many communities across the state and country.

Working together, we will pursue legislative initiatives with other governing bodies because we know that a single city, county, or state cannot protect its residents from this kind of violence. They are not islands and are only as safe as what is permitted by the gun laws nearby.

Often, with grief comes purpose. We will continue to step up and confront the challenges that lie ahead. Support, resources, and reassurance are available. I look forward to seeing you out and about.  We are one. We are Highland Park.